Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
The Los Angeles Dodgers’ two-game series against the Houston Astros kicked off with a bang on Tuesday night as benches cleared after Joe Kelly struck out Carlos Correa to end the sixth inning.
Kelly threw a fastball above Alex Bregman’s head on a 3-0 pitch earlier in the inning, and then a pair of breaking balls came close to hitting Correa before he struck out. Kelly and Correa exchanged some words, and while benches cleared, nothing escalated and the Dodgers went on to win the game, 5-2.
While Kelly did not hit any batters and wasn’t even ejected from the game, Major League Baseball came down hard on him, suspending the right-hander eight games for the incident. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts was also suspended for a game, while Astros manager Dusty Baker was fined.
It’s no secret that players all across the league, not just the Dodgers, aren’t fans of the Astros after they were found guilty of electronic sign-stealing during their 2017 World Series run in which they defeated L.A.
Because of that, it was not surprising to see players from other teams such as New York Mets pitcher Marcus Stroman, Los Angeles Angels reliever Kenyan Middleton and retired MLB pitchers Jered Weaver and Phil Hughes coming to Kelly’s defense on social media.
Makes zero sense Ken. He wasn’t even thrown out of the game. MLB siding with/protecting a team that openly and knowingly cheated their way to a World Series. He doesn’t deserve to be suspended at all. Hoping he wins his appeal. Looking forward to seeing you back out there JK! pic.twitter.com/Lekx8NHLRp
— Marcus Stroman (@STR0) July 29, 2020
YO FREE JOE KELLY
— La llave (@since93key) July 29, 2020
8 games! What a joke.. @mlb is so soft anymore it’s kinda embarrassing.. people should just keep cheating because apparently there is 0 game suspensions for that
— Jered Weaver (@Weave1036) July 29, 2020
— Phil Hughes (@PJHughes45) July 29, 2020
Kelly appealed his suspension so was available for the Dodgers’ series finale against the Astros, while Roberts served his so bench coach Bob Geren managed the team.
Kelly denies throwing at Astros on purpose
While the league didn’t think so, Kelly actually denied that he threw at the Astros with any intent to hit them.
“It was a ball, obviously. Wasn’t my best pitch. It was ball four, walked him, and it’s never good to put a guy on when you’re late in the game,” Kelly said after the game when asked if he was attempting to send any sort of message.
“I wasn’t feeling the greatest or most comfortable. It took me a while to hone in on my mechanics.”
Everyone who has watched Kelly pitch knows he is a bit erratic, even throwing a ball through his own window when the league was on a break due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Considering hit didn’t hit anyone and no one was hurt, it will be interesting to see if the league shortens his suspension on his appeal. It is clear they wanted to make an example of him though, so it would be surprising to see that happen.
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